Tapioca starch is widely used in food and non-food applications. Sometimes
it is used in the native form. A much wider variety of characteristics are available from
modified tapioca starches, tailor-made for individual applications. Thai tapioca starch,
both native and modified, is preferred by many industries including:
Native tapioca starch is widely applied in food recipes such as bakery products. It
is also used to produce extruded snacks and tapioca pearls. Modified starch, or starch
derivatives, have been applied as thickening, binding, texturizing and stabilizing agents.
Uses as fillers, sweeteners, flavor carriers and fat replacement in many food products
include canned food, frozen food, dry mixes, baked goods, snacks, dressings, soups,
sauces, dairy products, meat and fish products and infant food.
Modified tapioca starch is used as a colloid stabilizer in beverages that include
solid constituents. Tapioca starch-based sweeteners can be produced with considerably
higher yields than sugar and are used in beverages as a sugar replacement. In combination
with other sweetener components, it can usually contribute to satisfying the customer’s
requirement. High dextrose equivalent syrups of tapioca-based hydrolysate are also good
sources of easily fermentable sugars for brewery applications.
Native tapioca and diverse types of modified tapioca starch are used in
confectionery for different purposes such as gelling, thickening, texture stabilizing, foam
strengthening, crystallization inhibition, adhesion, film forming, and glazing. Low
viscosity tapioca starches are widely used in gelled confectioneries such as jellies and
gums. The most often used one is acid-thinned starch due to its high retro-gradation and
gel formation characteristics, which are enhanced by the presence of sugars. Powdered
starches are used as mould release agents when casting confectioneries. Starch-based
polyols make the manufacture of sugar-free chewing gum possible.
Tapioca starch-based syrups are obtained economically by acid and/or enzyme
processes and used as feedstock to make various chemicals, including monosodium
glutamate, amino acids, organic acids, alcohols, ketones, vitamins and antibiotics.
Production techniques include chemical reaction, fermentation and other biotechnological
Adhesives & Glue
Tapioca starch-based dextrins are excellent adhesives and used in many
applications including corrugated board, paper-bags, laminated board, gummed paper,
tapes, labels, stamps and envelopes.
Modified tapioca starches are applied in the paper industry to improve paper
quality, increase production rates, and improve pulp yield. Cationic starches are
employed to flocculate pulp, increasing de-watering rates on the wet end. Faster machine
speeds and better pulp yields result. The starch remains in the finished paper, acting as an
internal sizing agent to increase the paper strength. Low viscosity starches, such as
oxidized starches, are applied as surface sizing to improve the strength and control ink
absorption properties for printing and writing. Modified tapioca starches are also used as
a pigment binder for surface coating to obtain a smooth, white paper.
Tapioca starches are used in the textile industry as sizing agents to stiffen and
protect the thread for improved weaving efficiency. They are also used as finishing
agents to obtain smooth fabrics, and color thickeners to obtain sharp and durable printed
fabrics. For this purpose, thin-boiled starches are usually preferred.
Pharmacy and Cosmetics
Native and modified tapioca starches are used as binders, fillers and disintegrating
agents for tablet production. Specialty modified starches are used as a carrier for skin
moisturizers, which are frequently mineral oil based. Other modified starches are used as
emulsifiers, encapsulating agents (vitamins), sizing (mousse for hair), thickeners
Native and modified tapioca starches can be blended with petroleum-based or
synthetic polymers to improve the biodegradability and minimize the production cost of
more environmentally friendly materials.